Wednesday afternoon marked the official return of West Virginia football. That’s right, it’s finally time to start talking about Mountaineer football again. Head coach Dana Holgorsen addressed the media to discuss the return of practice and touch base on what’s been going on in the West Virginia football world.
Right off the bat, Coach Holgorsen addressed the changes being made to the football facilities, which include the updating of the training room and soundproofing rooms. Coach Holgorsen then joked how Coaches Carrier and Gibson try to out-scream each other from room to room to test out the soundproofing.
Coach Holgorsen also pointed out that technically spring ball starts Saturday, which will be the first time players will be in pads and helmets, adhering to the NCAA rules and regulations. In a time of discord in college sports and not following NCAA guidelines, hearing Coach Holgorsen specifically highlight a rule is a breath of fresh air. It’s clear Mountaineer coaches are able to follow NCAA rules.
“We came back and had some offseason stuff for like three weeks, which, really, what we’re doing this week isn’t any different than what we did last week. We’re still lifting a lot; we’re installing things,” Holgorsen said. “It is a little bit more beneficial to be able to go out there and count it as one of the 15 days because we can use them all and stay out there for some real, real, real non-competitive stuff. That’s where we are currently at, and we’ll do the same stuff tomorrow. We aren’t out there very long, and it doesn’t even really look like football. Saturday, we’ll turn the page and start having a little bit of resistance with each other.”
The optimistic demeanor the head coach has displayed through much of last season is still on display going into spring football. Coach Holgorsen is excited and ready to get his team into some action.
“I’m excited about this group, the 2018 group. It’s probably, obviously offensively, the most veteran unit that we’ve had since I’ve been here. Defensively, I feel good about, just based on (Gibson) going into the fifth year, it seems like he’s been here for a while. He’s been here six years – he’s been here forever – but the coordinator aspect of it for the fifth year gives everybody comfort,” Holgorsen remarked. “I just like where the guys are right now, and I wanted to get started. I’m looking forward to a good spring.”
Coach Holgorsen also addressed some general team maintenance as the team returns to the game. Holgorsen pointed out David Long Jr. is doing well in rehabbing his shoulder, alongside Lamonte McDougle who had shoulder surgery the same day as Long. The two are working on their rehab together, which Holgorsen joked was “the worst thing in the world that happened to Lamonte.” Coach Holgorsen pointed out that McDougle could use the spring to be young and learn on the team, something he cannot do and something Long does not need as much as he is more seasoned.
Coach Holgorsen also pointed out that quarterback Will Grier has officially been given the all clear to return to football. After his injury and surgery late last year, everyone is eager to see the quarterback return to practice and eventually actual games this fall.
“By the time we got here after recruiting in February, he’s been 100 percent full go. He looks good physically, he sounds good mentally. He’s exactly what you want in a fifth-year senior,” Holgorsen said.
Finally, Coach Holgorsen was asked about his goals for spring practice in comparison to last season and where he wants to grow and improve. The coach was candid as usual pointing out that there are things his team can work on and get better at, and that that list will likely continue to grow over the next several weeks.
” . . . Every year is different. I sit in front of it and I say, ‘Look, guys, in 2017 we turned the ball over more than anybody in the Big 12.’ Do you think I’m probably going to say it to them? Yeah, I am,” Holgorsen remarked. “We’ll focus hard, and we’ll do different things to be able to emphasize not turning the ball over, so to speak. In years past, we’ve had fewer fumbles than anybody in the Big 12, we’ve thrown fewer interceptions than anybody in the Big 12.”
Overall, the head coach sounds eager as ever to get his team in some real action. He is excited for the team to get back into the real swing of things and get ready to make the 2018 season the best one yet. Get ready, football is right around the corner.